His Story in the Making


BY ERICA POUR                                                                                                                                     Staff Writer

It’s no secret that new professors have a lot to take in when arriving at a new campus, but McKendree University’s newest history professor, Dr. Joshua S. Haynes, looks like he has things under control. Armed with a Ph.D. in History from the University of Georgia and his experience at Miami of Ohio, Haynes now steps up to the podium at McKendree.

Professor Haynes
Professor Haynes

While sitting in his bare walled newly adopted office, Haynes admits that his first three weeks have been “crazy”. Though busy, he is glad to be at McKendree University, esteeming it as “a different way” of approaching higher education.

Raised in the south, Haynes grew roots in the town of Cherokee, Alabama. In a town named after a Native American tribe, it’s no surprise that this small town is filled to the brim with stereotypical representations of Native Americans. The presence of these stereotypes sparked a fire in Haynes causing him to channel his unhappiness with Native American misrepresentations into a profession. Uneasy with the town’s inaccurate imagery representing “nothing to do with Cherokee culture”, Haynes now specializes in teaching the truth about “Native America”.

Dr. Haynes echoes this truth in McKendree’s classrooms where he lectures in a variety of American History courses. Walking in on one of Hayne’s classes, would look nothing like the average undergraduate lecture. Dr. Haynes creates interactive lessons and says he is looking forward to running his signature pedagogy and seeing how his students respond to his methods the most. Within this pedagogy, each student is assigned a different role to act out within a specific historical event. Dr. Haynes favors this style of teaching because it teaches historical contingency and familiarity with primary resources.

While this active learning tends to spark a creative and competitive urge in students, Haynes lightheartedly remarked that though he encourages his students to come in costume to class, no student has yet taken him up on it. Lessons he teaches using this method include subjects involving Native American Removal and the Trail of Tears. Hayne’s primary concentration on Native Americans or more specifically the Creek Indians made him the perfect candidate to appear on TLC’s “Who Do You Think You Are” in an investigation of Trisha Yearwood’s ancestors, who turned out to be directly involved with Creek Indian conflicts. He has recently been contacted to appear on the show again, but until his pending appearance he will continue to settle into his new office in Carnegie Hall.